• Start Here
  • Shop
Shop

Shirt Anatomy 101: Collars, Hems, and All the Parts in Between

shirt-anatomy-lead-taylor-stitch

Image via Taylor Stitch.

Most moments, you’re probably wearing a shirt. But how well-versed are you with the ins and outs of a shirt’s anatomy? You may have seen shirt terminology referred to in product descriptions or even here on our website. If any of that has got you confused, this article serves to bring clarity.

In this piece, we’ll be talking about the main parts of the shirt, their functions, and what their common variations include. By the end (and maybe with some studying), you’ll be able to. call out every part of a shirt from collar to hem.

Collar

The collar is a piece of fabric that is attached at the top opening of the shirt and wraps around the neck. Collars come in a wide variety of styles like this plain Ace Rivington collar on their winter flannel, available at Manready Mercantile.

Interlining

shirt-anatomy-unfused-interlining-shirt-detective

Image via shirtdetective.com

Interlining is a piece of fabric that is sandwiched between two pieces of fabric to give more structure to a section of a garment. Interlining on shirts can be found at the placket, cuffs, and collar.

Fused Interlining

shirt-anatomy-fused-interlining-shirt-detective

Image via shirtdetective.com

A fused interlining is an interlining which is bonded to the fabric. In addition to adding heft to a section of the garment, fused interlinings tend to be stiffer and are often seen on dress shirts.

Throat Latch/Tab Collar

shirt-anatomy-throat-latch-pherrows-clutch-cafe

Image via Clutch Cafe

A throat latch is a piece of fabric located at the neck of the shirt and extends beyond the top button to a secondary button to be doubly secure. This feature is most often seen on work shirts like this one from Pherrow’s at Clutch Cafe.

Neck

The neck of a shirt is the top of a shirt located at, surprise, the neck of the body. The neck can be finished in a number of ways including a ribbed collar, such as in t-shirts, or a pointed collar as in buttoned shirts like this Studio D’artisan Sashiko Shirt available at Hinoya.

Crew Neck

Crew neck is a type of neck seen on knit shirts like t-shirts wherein the neck opening is cut with a circular curve like on this Teamster Tee from the Heddels Shop.

V-Neck

V-neck is a type of neck seen on knit shirts like t-shirts wherein the neck opening is cut into a converging point in the shape of a ‘v’ like on this tee from Burgus Plus available at Sun House.

Yoke

The yoke is a panel or panels of fabric located either just below the neck and above the shoulder blades on the back of the shirt, or at the upper chest on the front of the shirt. The yoke, like on a pair of jeans, provides shape to the shirt and can also provide contrast or other embellishment like the pattern mismatch on this Randy’s Garment Co. Upcycled Shirt at Lost & Found.

Split Yoke

A split yoke is a type of yoke that is bifurcated into two pieces and sewn at the center like on this Gitman Bros. chambray at Division Road.

Western yoke

Often seen in “cowboy” or western shirts, the western yoke is a decorative yoke, often cut with a scalloped or angled design like on this The Real McCoy’s Sawtooth Western Shirt at Clutch Cafe.

Placket

A placket is a slit in a garment that allows flexibility for a garment to be put on. Plackets often feature some type of fastener such as buttons or zippers. For shirts, plackets are usually placed at the neck and extend down, and at the cuffs extending up the sleeve. You can see the placket highlighted in orange corduroy on this Beams Plus color blocked shirt at Stag Provisions.

French Placket

A French placket is simply folded at the edge and turned back, and does not feature any visible reinforcement from the outside like on this Camp Collar shirt from Akashi-Kama.

Hidden Placket

Hidden plackets, sometimes called covered plackets, are similar to French plackets but actually cover the buttons so they are covered as on the Marshall Islander shirt from Nine Lives.

Fastener

Fasteners are pieces of hardware which fasten a garment to itself, either to close a placket, cuffs, or pockets. The most common fasteners on shirts are buttons like on the Battenwear Five Pocket Canyon Shirt featured above at Wallace Mercantile, but many others also use zippers.

Side Seam

Side seams are the seams along the sides of the shirt and run from the armpit to the hem, seen as a flat fell stitch on this Kapital Kountry baseball shirt at Blue in Green.

Sleeves

Except for sleeveless shirts, the sleeves are the fabric which connects at the shoulders and cover the arms. Sleeves can be cut into different lengths which ranging from just below the shoulder to past the wrist like on this 1st PAT RN 1982 shirt at Vestis.

Inset Sleeve

This is the most common way to attach a sleeve. Inset sleeves are cut directly from the shoulder point to the armpit and stitched all the way around like on this Pherrow’s Open Collar Shirt at Clutch Cafe.

Raglan Sleeve

Raglan sleeves are distinguished from inset sleeves in their attaching. Raglan sleeves are cut from the side of the neck down to the armpit and are commonly seen on sweatshirts like this loopwheeled one from The Real McCoy’s at Lost & Found.

Armhole

The armhole is where the sleeves are attached and is located at the shoulders like on this Utility Shirt from Benzak Denim Developers.

Cuff

The cuff is the layer of fabric attached at the end of the sleeve. Cuffs vary in their styles and often feature their own placket and fastener. The function of the cuff is to prevent the garment’s fabric from fraying and allows it to be repaired more easily. They’re often pattern-matched like on this RATS shirt from Sonder Supplies.

Gauntlet Button

The gauntlet button is the button attached at the placket of a sleeve. See this unbuttoned one on a Multiplaid Oxford at Raleigh Denim.

Hems

Square Hem/Flat Hem

The hem is the bottom portion of the shirt where the fabric ends. A hem can be finished and cut in a variety of ways, depending on the shirt. This Gitman Brown Cotton Tweed Shirt at Lost & Found has a square split hem.

A square hem or flat hem is a hem that is cut in a straight, horizontal line, as opposed to a curved hem. Often seen as a more casual detail, this type of hem is most typical on t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, camp collar shirts.

Curved Hem

shirt-anatomy-curved-hem-knickerbocker

Image via Knickerbocker.

A curved hem is a hem that features a curved pattern, usually curving upward toward the side seam. The curved detail allows for the shirt to be tucked into the pants without bunching.

Gusset

A gusset is a piece of fabric which adds durability and sometimes extra range of motion to a section of a garment. For shirts, gussets are typically seen at the point where the side seams meet the hem like on this Rogue Territory Field Shirt at Brooklyn Clothing or, sometimes, at where the side seams meet the armhole.

Chainstitch Runoff

A byproduct of factory speed, the chainstitch runoff is a trail of chainstitched threads which hang from the side seam. This detail can be seen on rare vintage workwear shirts as well as modern reproductions, like this Post Overalls chambray shirt at Clutch Cafe.

Decorations/Accoutrements

Piping

Piping is a strip of fabric, usually contrasting in color to the garment’s main fabric, which is folded and inserted into the seams of a shirt. Piping is a decorative technique and can often be found on pajama shirts like this one from Levi’s Made & Crafted at Stag Provisions.

Eyelets/Vents

shirt-anatomy-eyelets-the-rite-stuff

Image via The Rite Stuff.

Eyelets are small holes in a shirt which are reinforced either with stitching or metal. Commonly placed at the armpits, or on the back yoke in the case of this Rite Stuff Heracles shirt, eyelets provide ventilation.

Pleats

Pleats are a section of folded fabric that is set into place usually stitches, although they sometimes can be fixed with rivets. Pleats add shape, a greater range of motion, and decoration like on this Kuon Guayabera shirt at Clutch Cafe.

Box Pleat/Center Pleat

A box pleat, sometimes known as a center pleat, is a type of pleat that is located at the. center of the rear yoke of the shirt and is made by folding two parallel, vertical rows of fabric. This allows for greater range of movement in the chest and shoulders and is a common detail on preppy clothing like this J.Press Oxford from Blue in Green.

Side Pleats

These are pleats located at either side of the rear yoke of a shirt and also help with mobility. These are done in corduroy on this Gitman Camper shirt at Division Road Inc.

Dart

shirt-anatomy-Proper-Cloth-Back-Darted-Shirt

Image via Proper Cloth

A dart is a tuck in the fabric that is sewn into a garment to give it more shape. In shirting, darts are often applied to the waist or lower back of the shirt.

Join today and gain instant access to:

2 product giveaways per month
Exclusive Heddels+ articles and podcast episodes
Heddels+ Discord community
No ads on the entire Heddels site
Up to 20% off at the Heddels Shop, STAG Provisions, Blue in Green, Clutch Cafe, and more!